Measurement for Recovery: Supporting UK Industry to drive recovery, growth and business confidence

Posted on 12 Oct 2020 by The Manufacturer

As the UK manufacturing industry continues its recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, the need to build resilience and boost competitiveness has never been more critical. 

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK’s National Metrology Institute and provides the measurement capability that underpins the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. The role of measurement in manufacturing is of course well recognised, where it fundamentally underpins activity which includes our transport systems, production processes, supply chains, instrumentation and quality – just to name a few. All of these systems work because we have confidence in the measurements that underpin them. These measurements are an infrastructure, agreed globally and implemented locally, they are the invisible glue that binds everything together. Those using our measurement system benefit from their measurements being stable over time, comparable with others and accurate, allowing known confidence in measurement results.

That measurement system is at the heart of the new programme, Measurement for Recovery (M4R), conceived by NPL and supported by the other laboratories that deliver the UK’s National Measurement System. The goal of M4R is to ensure that our measurement expertise and that of our partners drives the UK’s innovation landscape and is utilised to its utmost to support UK industry in its recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond.


The M4R programme offers specialist advice and analytical expertise over a period of up to 20 days and combines the knowledge and innovation expertise, which is shared via NPL’s scientists and engineers (and those of the national measurement laboratory M4R partners) at no charge. Examples of the types of problems being addressed include help with everything from supply chain management, social distancing requirements and supporting the restart of production lines or instrumentation to compliance, new product development and verification and supply chain evaluation. In fact, we welcome UK industry to bring any problem which they believe could be answered by the UK’s top measurement scientists and engineers at our specialist facilities.

Running until the end of 2020, Measurement for Recovery (M4R) will enable up to 400 businesses to have access to scientists, engineers and world-leading experts in testing and measurement laboratories and associated resources. Applications are assessed on a non-competitive basis, with a simple process from initial enquiry through to work commencing. The scientific teams delivering the project aim to respond to applicants within 3 working days following receipt of application. To date almost half of the places on the programme have been snapped up, with projects across a variety of different industries and disciplines being undertaken by NPL scientists and engineers.

Measurement for Recovery (M4R) projects already underway are utilising experts from NPL and partner organisations to unleash innovation and solve critical industry challenges, helping to bring products to market quicker, increasing the robustness of supply chains and helping overcome roadblocks in engineering and ultimately aiding businesses and industry in being resilient. Working in partnership with a range of organisations, including NML at LGC, NIBSC, TUV-NEL and NGML, means NPL can match businesses with experts who meet all criteria and are able to provide support and solutions specifically tailored to their needs.

The report makes 18 recommendations for businesses developing AI to start, grow, and thrive including developing Data Trusts- image courtesy of NPL.
image courtesy of NPL.

Entering the autumn months we hope that this programme will increase the adoption of better measurement and in turn provide significant competitive advantage for the UK – aiding the government’s drive to make the UK a great place to work and do business, unleashing new innovative ways of building, making and doing things. All underpinned by the confidence measurement science provides.

If you would like to know more about the Measurement for Recovery programme – or if you believe you have a project which world leading measurement science expertise can help solve, then further information and the Application Form is available on the NPL web site at

*Led by NPL, the Measurement for Recovery programme enables participants to access the specialist expertise of laboratories across the UK National Measurement Laboratories – LGC, NIBSC, TUV-NEL, NGML.